AAA mid-Atlantic is predicting the biggest July 4 travel weekend since 2009.
AAA projects 1.2 million Virginians will travel to celebrate Independence Day this year. The 2015 travel forecast is the highest since 2009, when 824 thousand Virginians holiday celebrations included traveling 50 miles or more from home. The exact prediction, 1,155,774 is up .2% from last year. “The strong forecast numbers are not surprising as Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday period and holiday gas prices are expected to be the lowest in five years,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting more Americans, and hence more residents of the Commonwealth, to take a holiday trip this year. Despite recent seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has helped boost Americans’ disposable income.
Traditional road trips to enjoy beaches, lake houses, picnics and relaxed visits with family and friends continue to lure the vast majority of patriotic revelers. Eighty-six percent (86%) of Virginian’s will pack up the their vehicles in 2015, making it, once again, the most popular mode of transportation and essentially the same number as drove last year.
Airline departures for July 4th will include 88,334 Virginians, representing a slight .8% increase from 2014. The remainder of celebrants will use other modes of transportation which include cruises, trains and buses.
Pump prices in recent days have stabilized and even dropped slightly in areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices in at least five years. In Virginia, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline has dropped slightly to $2.59 per gallon. Today’s price is eight cents higher than one month ago and remains significantly discounted from this time last year with drivers saving an average of 90 cents per gallon year-over-year. Virginia motorists taking a road trip for the holiday will benefit from the nation’s 8th lowest gas prices in the country.
To their dismay, almost 5,000 Virginia motorists are expected to be rescued by AAA between July 1st and July 5th. While most will require a tow, the second highest number will experience the frustrating and largely preventable: dreaded dead battery. Third on the list of top reasons to call AAA for a rescue are those who have flat tires. “For those who want a smooth and care free drive, AAA reminds that motorists inspect their vehicle and check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway,” Meade said. “Nobody wants the frustrating feeling of knowing that an inconvenient and likely uncomfortably hot road-side break down could easily have been prevented.” Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance when needed.
(Chesapeake Bay Bridge Toll Booth Line by Susan Smith, on Flickr)